Monday 5 August Priego de Córdoba to Granada

80km today
3977km so far

Priego de Córdoba is a pretty little town on top of a hill. And it is surrounded by lots of other hills as I found out today. Fortunately it has lots of drinking fountains (it is known as “the city of water”) so I was able to fill up all my bottles when I left at 7am.
The little Hostal, La Posada Real, was in the middle of the tiny moorish streets that are decorated with flowerpots and it had been a great choice with a very friendly owner called Juan. So it was a shame we couldn’t stay longer but I really needed to get to Granada.
There were about 60km of hills. I stopped at Alcalá de Real for breakfast. It was on a hill with a castle at the top of course. After my juice, coffee and bocadillo, I grabbed some fruit and some water and got rolling again.
The morning had been cool and I wanted to try to avoid the sun. It was catching me. But I was high up and it seemed cooler than other days, even with the sun now up.
As I crawled at 10kph up another hill as I fought to get to Pinos Puente, I mulled over the change of perspective I now had on Spain. It isn’t just about The “costa del sol”, it’s also a country of fields, farms, and hills and castles, with a rich history of war, religion and complex regional differences. In fact Madrid seemed to be the only place not to bother having a different flag. From Euskadi to Asturias, and within the next few weeks, to Catalunya, Spain has been a country of contrasts and beauty.
Although I will be pleased if I get some flat roads, I will miss the hills and the panoramic views. I will also miss people who live in the “real” Spain, and the feeling that I am doing something different to the typical British tourist.
The last 20km into Granada were flat and boring, but it was good to arrive at 1pm to look around. The streets seem more like Marrakech than Spain, but there’s certainly a lot to see. The Arab influence and the flamenco certainly has made Andalucia seem a very odd but wonderful place. We will visit the Alhambra tomorrow morning at 0730 (a word of warning- book tickets the day before!)